Karst Water Research in Slovenia
Andrej Kranjc - (29/1,2000)
About 43% of the territory of Slovenia is karst and more than 50% of its inhabitants are supplied with water from karst. Karst in Slovenia is divided into Dinaric, Alpine and transitional karst. Each of these types bears its own hydrological properties. Already in the antique literature underground water connections are mentioned. Water tracing in the Slovene Karst is among the first modern tracing research. Karst water research may be divided into several periods: (1) aimed at determining underground water connections between swallow-holes and springs (the first half of the 20th century), (2) to achieve combined water tracing tests (since 1970), (3) to define karst watersheds, (4) to study water percolation through the epikarst and the vadose zone (since 1980). In particular, the researches of karst water quality must be emphasised, as well as the study of karst hydrology as a phenomenon in itself. At the end a logical question appears: what are the future perspectives of karst water studies in Slovenia? Water tracing of not yet fully ascertained connections or repeating the water tracing tests under different hydrological conditions, a detailed determination of watersheds and water flow with the help of tracers directly injected underground, to develop water tracing techniques and methods, to study in the field percolation water behaviour, modelling, to theoretically determine physical laws. Special attention must also be paid to education.